Before you judge, climb into my thyroid skin

Before you judge climb into my thyroid skin

“Fist of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” ~ Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

You are making it all up.
No one wants to be chronically ill. No one wants to plod through life in those heavy shoes. In sickness and in health, through thick and thin, in good times and in bad, the familiar words go. To be doubted by the very people that we expect to love us, it crushes the soul. Don’t give up on us. Hope for thyroid disease is real but we need you to have hope too. When you become chronically ill, you lose people, family members and friends too. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It is hard to explain what is going on with your health when you don’t understand it yourself. It’s even harder to explain it to someone who has never climbed into your thyroid skin and walked around in it. Until you do, you really have no idea. And you really don’t want to know. Just ask a thyroid person and they will tell you. Don’t judge.
Take one pill a day and you’ll be fine.
The day you realize that your doctor is not going to get you well, that you’ve been declared “normal” when you feel anything but, changes you. It shatters the image you once held dear that doctors will swoop in to save you from illness. It can take going to 20 doctors until you finally find the one that helps and, even then, some people never find that great doctor. The good doctors may practice far away from where you live or they may require payment out of pocket that costs far too much for your budget. There is one type of thyroid medication typically prescribed but that doesn’t work for everyone and often times doctors are unwilling to consider the alternatives that may make someone feel better.Too many doctors are missing critical pieces to the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease. It’s not that simple. It’s actually far too complicated.
You are a hypochondriac.
When cells all over the body have receptors for thyroid hormone, every part of the body can be pummeled to the ground by thyroid disease. It is not uncommon for thyroid patients to be taking a whole bathroom cabinet full of different prescription medications for every disease known to man from heart disease to diabetes to depression to fibromyalgia. And it may be all because their thyroid is not well treated. In this day and age, we expect modern medicine to have all the answers, but it doesn’t when it comes to thyroid disease. No, we are not junkies or pill poppers or whatever you call us. We are surviving. That’s what we are doing.
You are lazy.
Thyroid fatigue is not normal fatigue.This is a wretched fatigue that no amount of sleep can repair. You can sleep 5 hours or 15 hours and still be utterly exhausted the next day. The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of you but those who fight battles that you know nothing about. Let me see you get through each day while carrying the heavy load of thyroid disease on your back. We are not lazy. We are the exact opposite, in fact. And until you understand that, you will never truly understand.
You are fat.
First, let’s get one thing straight. Stop judging people by the size of their body. That just has to stop. But while I’m at it, let me explain what you clearly don’t know. You can exercise every single day and go on every single diet and still gain weight with a thyroid problem. Thyroid disease can lower your metabolism. It can add a strange, heavy, thick fat all over your body, that I call “thyroid fat”. It can bring your body temperature down low and cause water retention that makes you bloated especially in your abdomen, face, legs, feet, arms, and hands. 
You are selfish.
Taking time to get thyroid healthy. Resting when your body needs rest. Knowing when your plate is full and that you’ve reached maximum. Becoming more aware of what’s really worth your energy. Having the strength to say NO. Removing the things, and even people, that are toxic in your life. Finally doing what’s best for you. We have seen what the bottom looks like. Now we are ready to see the top. We have faced the ultimate choice of living or dying, and we have chosen to live our best and most courageous life. That’s not selfish. That’s called loving ourselves.
Come on. Try climbing into my thyroid skin and walk around in it for a while because then, and only then, will you truly understand. If you can’t be kind, please, oh please, just be quiet.

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About Dana Trentini

Dana Trentini M.A., Ed.M., founded Hypothyroid Mom October 2012 in memory of the unborn baby she lost to hypothyroidism. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consulting your physician regarding medical advice pertaining to your health. Hypothyroid Mom includes affiliate links including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.


  1. I’m a male who is dealing with hypothyroidism. While, according to my doctor(s), I don’t fit the profile, I have it and it took some time for me to be diagnosed. My TSH levels were through the roof at 8.3, and my doctor at that time thought it was an inaccurate result. After all, I was thin (genetic advantage plus a life of distance running) and was male, although in my middle ages. My condition may have been caused by long term exposure to chemicals while in the Marine Corps, stationed at Camp Lejuene. I deal with other health issues from this as well. But this article, it describes my life so well. I work long hours, and just go home and sleep on workdays. On my days off, it takes me an entire day to recover just to leave the house. I’ve always been pretty easy going, but find myself getting frustrated easily when so exhausted now. This disease is life-saving. It hurts. It affects relationships when I date someone who can’t understand that I’m unable to go out and do things with her on workdays or on my first day off. So, yes, it is very isolating.

  2. This is near to my heart. I struggle daily with the mamagement of thyroid disease. I lost 5 pregnancies to hypothryoidism and once it was identified and treated I carried to full term 2 pregnancies back to back. I currently have 2 little ages 1 & 2 🙂

  3. Lydia McClaskey says

    Climb on in and see how tired tired REALLY is. Climb on in and see how sore my body gets from the smallest things. Climb on in and see how sometimes I am literally too exhausted to breathe properly. Climb on in but lucky you, after you feel the tiredness, after you feel the soreness, after you struggle with every breathe, you can leave. I can not, for this is my body, my hypothyroid, and this is now my life.

  4. I keep wondering if I will ever get well. Living like this isn’t living, it is survival. No one ever seems to get better.

  5. Tracy O'Keefe says

    Wow. You nailed it. I have read so many articles about this thyroid challenge we face but none as simply and accurately stated as this one. I am sharing with my friends and family. Thank you.

  6. Sonja Spurlock says

    Oh how I envy the energy of others. At times I have a few days of feeling great, and I think, “this is how it feels!” Then I’m down for two weeks 😞. Why can’t I be “normal”.

    • Heather Miller says

      I am the same way…I can be feeling great for 2-3 days, and the next few weeks, it is hard to get out of bed. 😞

    • I do the same thing. I’ll have that burst of energy, a bit of normalcy and I’ll do so much and it just over exerts my everything. Then i get more depressed because I want to be THAT person, everyday. Doing things. “Normally.”
      It’s so hard to feel alone in this.

  7. It can feel so lonely, and while you don’t want to be a burden, the guilt of disappointing loved ones is more painful than the symptoms we live with every day. If they only really knew and that’s why this article is so on point.

  8. It is difficult to understand anything to do with Thyroid issues for both sides, can be challenging for all parties involved. My fiancé has suffered for many years now, and I hate to admit it was hard for me to understand how a person so vibrant became very broken spirited in a short time before the diagnosis.

    You have bursts of energy that don’t last, stress itself is multiplied for no reason, causing another storm!

    We have a fantastic relationship, and love each other completely, so for us the “struggle” isn’t hurtful as she needs to feel supported and I need her to feel my support.

    Anyone who does not support a patient of thyroid issues needs to spend 3 days awake, with no opportunity to wind down, de stress or rest, then the truth of what someone suffering thyroid issues will be alittle clearer.
    But only a fake representation of what’s really going on.

    I feel for those that suffer, and hope that I make a difference in my fiancé’s life trying to battle through her fight.

    It’s important for every lucky person not suffering, to support and understand those that suffer without a cure.

  9. I was born without thyroid so feeling horrible is my life story. The meds i take are not even good. Theres been a fda recall on thyroid meds but they still perscribe them. And we are still supposed to take them like they are really doing something good for somebody.

    • Heather Miller says

      I am the same way…I can be feeling great for 2-3 days, and the next few weeks, it is hard to get out of bed. 😞

  10. Amy Spencer says

    This is the story of my life.

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